The START Project
The START Project is a statewide collaborative effort to make systems level changes to improve the educational programming for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) through the use of evidence-based practices.
The START Project at Grand Valley State University encompasses three primary components: Training & Coaching, Collaboration & Coordination, and Resources.
Focus of the START Project
- Increasing professional knowledge of evidence-based practices and skills to implement practices for individuals with ASD at the student, classroom, building, and district levels.
- Promoting inclusion opportunities and access to general education curriculum.
- Providing accommodations and options for differentiated output to increase access to general education curriculum and settings.
- Training school staff in team process and problem solving to improve efficiency and productivity of teams.
- Providing training in positive behavioral interventions and supports to improve behavior supports at the building and individual student level.
- Establishing a set of universal supports to serve as a foundation for effective programming for all students with ASD that include program guiding principles, family involvement, team process, paraprofessional training, visual supports, peer supports, behavior supports, and educational strategies.
- Creating peer to peer support programs that promote regular interactions between students.
- Reworking early childhood special education programming to actively structure learning opportunities and engagement.
- Improving transition outcomes through a systematic process of discovery, planning, natural supports, and community engagement.
- Promoting collaboration and coordination across districts, counties, and regions to increase opportunities for sharing training and resources and moving toward a common set of principles and practices for effectively educating students with ASD.
- Increasing capacity for local school professionals to provide training and coaching locally.
- Increasing parent knowledge of evidence-based practices and engagement with the school team.
- Linking and coordinating with other state initiatives focused on improving outcomes for students.
Core Goals and Activities
- Intensive training and technical assistance to school districts using a team-based approach at the early childhood, K-12, and secondary transition levels.
- A coaching model supports the implementation of evidence-based practices at the building and district levels.
- Regional Collaborative Networks (RCN) serves as the infrastructure for collaboration and coordination across school districts, intermediate school districts, and community stakeholders, allowing shared training and resources and systemic planning on a broad scale.
- Access to resources and information delivered through the project web site, conferences, leadership meetings, and summer institutes.
Targeted Goals and Activities
- Transition to adulthood, addressed through Building Your Future (BYF) training and technical assistance, focuses on a V3 Discovery process (vision, vocational profile, and visual resume) and expanding peer supports to employment settings.
- Early childhood training and technical assistance that is grounded in evidence-based practices and focused on supporting school personnel to facilitate and expand learning opportunities
- Peer to peer support provides increased opportunities for students with ASD to connect with peers in general education settings.
- Expansion of inclusive opportunities for students with ASD including access to the general education curriculum.
Page last modified April 4, 2014